The Hotel Pennsylvania is a 2 star hotel opposite Madison Square Garden, located at the intersection of 33rd Street and 7th Avenue, 401 7th Ave, New York, NY 10001.
You can view prices and book on MeinHotel.com
- Very central, lively location
- Proximity to 14 subway lines
- Spacious rooms with mini-fridges
- Well-equipped fitness center
- Free use of the business center
- Cleanliness is not at the usual hotel standard
- Service staff not always helpful
- Long wait at check-in and breakfast
- Street noises can be heard in many of the rooms
- Internet fees
The Pennsylvania, a massive 1,700-room hotel, occupies a prime location next to Madison Square Garden and the Empire State Building. Although there's a decent fitness center on-site, the hotel isn't a good deal despite the reasonable prices -- lots of hustle and bustle, traffic 24/7 (even the huge lobby is always busy), and tired, outdated rooms to today's, especially New York standards.
A busy lobby full of international and domestic travelers -- most waiting to check in -- has a lively atmosphere.
Hotel Pennsylvania's website claims that it is the "world's most popular hotel," but "the world's most visited hotel" would better describe its busy interior. All the fuss makes sense; With 1,700 rooms, the Pennsylvania is the fourth largest hotel in Manhattan. Guests, pedestrians seem to take a shortcut, and fans of the tacky gift shops pass through the lobby in droves. The massive lobby gives the feel of Penn Station - one of the largest train stations in New York, located opposite the hotel. In the afternoon, the chatter of guests and passers-by created a continuous background noise that often exceeded the volume of the jazz music in the background.
The area is great. A number of famous landmarks such as Madison Square Garden, Empire State Building and Macy's, coupled with a massive transport network at Penn Station, meaning the location is hectic during the day but bearable at night.
For those unfamiliar with the geography of Manhattan, 7th Avenue near 34th Street is one of the Big Apple's busiest streets - along with St. Mark, Astor Place and Canal and Broadway - aside from Times Square. Hotel Pennsylvania, on 33rd and 7th, experiences foot traffic that borders on insanity. Madison Square Garden, home of the New York Knicks and Rangers, hosts the best-selling musicians and is directly across the street. Amtrak, Greyhound Buses, the Long Island Railroad, the PATH Train and New Jersey Transit, not to mention the 1, 2, 3 and A, C, E Subway lines all converge at Penn Station. The Herald Square subway station, which connects to the B, D, F, M and N, Q and R lines on 6th Avenue, provides even more traffic. Macy's, one of the world's largest department stores, is a block away, and the result is a constantly moving crowd right at the Hotel Pennsylvania's front door.
The high pedestrian volume brings with it a diverse crowd. As I was photographing the exterior of the hotel, several beggars approached me asking for change and cigarettes. Many more walked past or huddled against the hotel walls. Businessmen chatted on cell phones and asked the doorman to show them cubicles. A young man was looking for a music video, and the crowd parted around a few tourists who had stopped to take photos of Madison Square Garden and the nearby Empire State Building.
The area surrounding the hotel offers a wide range of goods and services. The Manhattan Mall on the same block, just around the corner from the hotel's main entrance, contains brick-and-mortar stores such as Aeropostale, Hallmark, and Sunglass Hut. There are hot dog vendors on the street. A merchant with dreadlocks sold glassware on the corner of 7th Avenue and 32nd Street.
The New York Public Library and Bryant Park and the Theater District are a 15-minute walk away. A seven-minute subway ride takes visitors to the southern edge of Central Park.
The area is busy during the day but thins out late at night and there are far fewer people on the streets. As with almost every neighborhood in New York, I advise against wandering poorly lit areas late at night, but the Hotel Pennsylvania neighborhood is not particularly violent or dangerous.
Approximately 30 to 90 minutes from three airports.
New York City has three nearby airports: JFK, LaGuardia and Newark (in New Jersey). Flying to JFK or LaGuardia is usually the easiest and least time consuming. From JFK it's a (one hour) taxi ride anywhere to Manhattan, see airport shuttle CLICK . From LaGuardia it takes about 30 minutes by taxi to Midtown Manhattan. Trips from Newark cost slightly more and can take more than 90 minutes, depending on traffic.
To save some money, there are different shuttles available at all three airports for around $20/person. Further information about the shuttles can be found here . Public transportation from each of the airports is available for about $7.50 per person, but travel sometimes involves lugging luggage up and down stairs.
Dated and generic, with worn furniture, sticky bed covers and drab colors - but at least they're big. The slightly more expensive "Penn 5000 Rooms" have better bedding and electronics.
- TVs, some flat screens and some old tube screens
- Mini fridge
- Gilchrist & Soames Spa therapy products
- Clock radio
- WiFi is available for a fee
- Penn 5000 rooms are spacious with white linens
- Cribs and extra beds are available upon request (and fit in most rooms) for a fee
The fitness center is spacious and well maintained with a variety of equipment. Penn 5000 Club members get access to a convenient, free business center, while others have to pay to use a computer or printer.
Penn 5000 Club members receive access to the Penn 5000 Club Lounge, which features Flavia coffeemakers, a flat-screen television tuned to CNN, a plush couch, two PC workstations and a printer.
- On-site fitness center is available, as well as passes to a nearby gym
- Business center with computers and printers
- A range of meeting rooms
The on-site restaurant Statler Grill serves inexpensive steaks and seafood, while City Perk is a decent cafe. Guests should plan to eat elsewhere.
Named after one of the hotel's former owners, Statler Grill is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It serves dishes such as steak and seafood.
City Perk is a 24-hour cafe.